PRIVATE renters who have been evacuated from a council-owned tower block over cladding safety fears are being burdened by delayed rent reimbursement and problems in finding flatmates because of the building’s tarnished reputation.
Two residents who share a flat in the Chalcots Estate in London’s Camden borough said they could be forced to move out because a promised rent repayment from the council for the trouble of being moved out temporarily has yet to be paid.
Thousands of council and private tenants were evacuated from the estate’s four tower blocks on June 23, when its cladding was found to be flammable in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Jermaine Joseph, 37, who lives in Taplow Tower on the estate said Camden Council had yet to deliver on an offer to repay rent.
He said: “We’ve had people coming to see, but they are not taking it. It is kind of comical, trying to show somebody around a potential flat when the building has been temporarily evacuated.
“The reason one girl decided not to take the place was because of the [safety] situation, which puts us in a rather unfair position.
“If we cannot find someone within a few weeks we are going to be stuck paying a third more on our rent and potentially still not having our rent reimbursement.”
His flatmate, Dave, 40, who did not want to give his surname, said: “If we don’t get any progress we are going to have to find somewhere else to live — we have now been stigmatised as a fire trap.”
Camden Council had promised in a document handed to tenants after the evacuation that it would reimburse rent to private tenants for the duration they have been evacuated.
But Mr Joseph said that, despite spending a month in a hotel room, his attempts to recoup money failed. He reported having to send information about his claim repeatedly after being told there was no record of previous calls.
A Camden Council spokesman said: “With nearly 3,000 people evacuated from the Chalcots Estate the council is working through a large number of financial reimbursement claims for those who self-funded their accommodation during the period they were away from their homes.
“We apologise for the length of time this process is taking, but it is a complex operation, particularly when claims are being made by subtenants of leaseholders.”